Drum Workshop with Swiss Chris [Brooklyn]

On August 19th, Music is My First Language (MiMFL) held their first in a breakthrough series of free workshops for kids at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY.

The drum workshop, led by world re-known drummer, music director, author and instructor Swiss Chris, was an amazing success. Over 25 kids were in attendance ranging in age from 6 – 18 years old. Each student was given an MiMFL tee-shirt and wristband, along with a fresh pair of Regal Tip drumsticks which were graciously donated by drumstick manufacturer Calato.

Swiss Chris opened the workshop, telling a story of what he was like as a kid,  finding ways to practice on the NYC subways with nothing but a pair of sticks in hand. He then went into a monster opening solo full of energy and musicality, featuring a creative mix of samples and live drums.

The following lesson featured some basics of choosing your sticks and how to hold them, along with excerpts from Swiss’ book, Modern Drumset Stickings. A mix of performance and lesson, all students were playing patterns while Swiss accompanied them with his signature style.

At the end Swiss called up Ray Archie and Tommy Spero from MiMFL, on bass and drums, as well as Matt Garrison, owner of Shapeshifter and accomplished bass player himself. What ensued was an improvised jam session featuring 2 bassists and 2 drummers, and it was nothing but rhythm. The students were encouraged to eagerly join in. It was loud, noisy and fun! At the end of the jam, much to their surprise, each student was highlighted to play an 8 bar solo along with the band.

To close out the event, 5 copies of Swiss Chris book were raffled off to lucky students. Swiss signed each winner’s copy and the entire group of students assembled for a photo.

Judging from the smiles on everyones faces – students, parents and staff, it was an amazing day and the first of many more to come.

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Ray Archie

Ray Archie is the Executive Director of Notes to the Soul, Inc. is infinitely the musicians’ advocate. It comes from the heart as Ray is also a musician who plays cello, bass, & piano and has performed internationally with Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson-Thomas, LSO, SF Symphony orchestra, & many others. Ray crosses the boundaries of classical, jazz, rock, hip-hop, and soul music. Ray is an award-winning musician who has toured extensively worldwide since age 12. He has over 30 years of music industry experience, 12 years of broadcast experience, created large-scale consumer-facing products and has set international standards for audio.